Monday, 22 October, 2018

Scientists confirm Einstein’s supermassive black hole theory

This simulation shows the orbits of stars very close to Sagittarius A* a supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way. One of these stars S2 orbits every 16 years and is passing very close to the black hole in May 2018. Image credit ESO  L Star spotted speeding near black hole at centre of Milky Way
Frank Williams | 29 July, 2018, 14:42

The gravitational redshift occurs when the light that escapes a region with a strong gravitational field and the light waves are stretched out becoming reddish in appearance.

Astronomers conduct successful test of Einstein's general theory of relativity near supermassive black hole.

Black holes offer a good opportunity to test that idea.

In future, he said, "we will see many more effects of general relativity in the galactic centre black hole".

A team of scientists at the European Southern Observatory started monitoring the central area of the Milky Way.

The one at the center of the Milky Way has a mass of four million times that of our own sun, which means it has a commensurate gravitational pull that affects everything that ventures anywhere close to it.

He then spent 10 years trying to include acceleration in the theory, finally publishing his theory of general relativity in 1915. In this graphic the colour effect, speed and size of the objects have been exaggerated for clarity.

It was all observed using the Very Large Telescope array in the Chilean desert. Genzel led a team that included collaborators worldwide from the Paris Observatory-PSL, the Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, the University of Cologne, the Portuguese CENTRA - Centro de Astrofisica e Gravitação and ESO. One of these stars, S2, orbits every 16 years and is passing very close to the black hole in May 2018.

The shortest distance between S2 and the black hole, on 19 May, was approximately 14 billion kilometres.

This artist’s impression shows the path of S2 as it passes very close to Sagittarius A*. As it gets close to the black hole the very strong gravitational field causes the color of the star to shift slightly to the red an effect of Einstein’s general

The star travels at a very fast clip of 3% of the speed of light.

According to the researchers, these conditions are extreme enough for the star to suffer the effects of general relativity.

"This is the second time that we have observed the close passage of S2 around the black hole in our galactic centre", said Reinhard Genzel, Director, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and main researcher on this project. Scientists knew that after completing its journey around its star, it would return close to the black hole in 2018. "So it's very important in astronomy to also check that those laws are still valid where the gravitational fields are very much stronger", said Françoise Delplancke, head of the System Engineering Department at ESO. Furthermore, the adjustment in the wavelength of light from S2 concurs unequivocally with that anticipated by Einstein's theory of general relativity. This extreme environment makes it the flawless place to explore gravitational physics, and particularly to test Einstein's relativity theory.

The theory fits well within the accepted framework of modern physics but it had never been observed around a massively powerful gravitational force like a black hole. In connection with what is known as interferometry, in which the light of several telescopes is merged and overlaid, Gravity creates extremely sharp images.

Will hopes his colleagues will be able to discover stars even closer to the black hole, where the effects of relativity would be stronger.

"Our first observations of S2 with GRAVITY, about two years ago, already showed that we would have the ideal black hole laboratory", said GRAVITY/SINFONI principal investigator Dr. During the close passage, even the faint glow around the black hole could be detected on most of the images. The study allowed astronomers to follow the star, called S2, as it passed near the black hole amid May 2018.

This animation shows the orbit of the star S2 around the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way.

In his theory of general relativity, Einstein describes the influence of matter on the motion of the stars.

Century's longest 'Blood Moon' eclipse to start shortly
In Johannesburg, residents took advantage of the clear winter night and watched the reddish shadow slide up the moon's surface. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes behind Earth, so that the Earth blocks the sun's rays from striking the moon.

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